Monday, July 16, 2012

Working With Your Dog's Herbalist

We all have exposure to modern medicine where we don’t expect follow-up, nor the ability to ask questions or report problems. Working with your dog’s herbalist is just the opposite!

Click here to download a PDF of this and other informational handouts.


We want feedback. Good or bad, it’s essential to your dog’s care that we hear back from you. If things aren’t going as planned we need to know so we can advise you on how to proceed. There is often more than one herbal option for a particular situation, so despite our best efforts there may be an herb we’ve chosen that simply doesn’t match up with your dog as we anticipated, or causes a rare side-effect or allergic response. If anything unexpected happens let us know so we can make changes and offer an option. Even if you decide to stop using the herbs, please let us know.


It’s extremely important to follow the dosing guidelines given by your dog’s herbalist. The dosing instructions given to you are specifically for your dog. This means the amount, frequency, and length of use have been carefully considered.
For some herbs it’s terrifically important to dose accurately. It doesn’t do your dog any good to do less, and doing more may cause side-effects. If your herbalist has advised going up to full dose on a particular schedule you should follow that schedule; if they have you get to full dose in 4 days there’s a reason for that, taking 2 weeks instead is a big deviation. Conversely, if their recommendation for the length of use is for one month, don’t continue it indefinitely; check in with them about your dog’s progress and have them re-assess your dog and give further instructions if needed. If there’s a reason you can’t follow the dosing guidelines we need to know, so we can make it work for you (so it will work for your dog!).


We always want to provide or recommend herbs in a form that will work best for your dog, so you may use a variety of forms: powders, capsules, fresh, tinctures, teas, or topicals. We don’t want them to be difficult to administer, but sometimes it takes some practice or tricks, or just fortitude, to administer them as directed. Dogs don’t always like them, but that’s to be expected. We’ll always give you instructions and tips for the herbs we’ve provided, and will help you out as much as possible, so if it’s not working, let us know.


Using a calender to journal your dog’s health will make it much easier for you to report to your practitioner or veterinarian. Note when you’ve started and stopped herbs, supplements, or medications, diet changes, medical treatment, and of course any health or behavior changes.


During our consultation we may have discussed the length of time for administering a particular herbal formula, or discussed future formulas for other seasons, or in the presence of particular changes in your dog. We give these recommendations thoughtfully, with the goal of bringing your dog into a healthy balance and maintaining their health over time. While we will note these on our forms, let us know if it works best if we remind you of these future recommendations with a call or email.
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